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Title: Molecular Dynamics Simulations of Uranyl and Uranyl Carbonate Adsorption at Alumino-silicate Surfaces

Adsorption at mineral surfaces is a critical factor controlling the mobility of uranium(VI) in aqueous environments. Therefore, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed to investigate uranyl(VI) adsorption onto two neutral alumino-silicate surfaces, namely the orthoclase (001) surface and the octahedral aluminum sheet of the kaolinite (001) surface. Although uranyl preferentially adsorbed as a bi-dentate innersphere complex on both surfaces, the free energy of adsorption at the orthoclase surface (-15 kcal mol-1) was significantly more favorable than that at the kaolinite surface (-3 kcal mol-1), which was attributed to differences in surface functional groups and to the ability of the orthoclase surface to dissolve a surface potassium ion upon uranyl adsorption. The structures of the adsorbed complexes compared favorably with X-ray absorption spectroscopy results. Simulations of the adsorption of uranyl complexes with up to three carbonate ligands revealed that uranyl complexes coordinated to up to 2 carbonate ions are stable on the orthoclase surface whereas uranyl carbonate surface complexes are unfavored at the kaolinite surface. Combining the MD-derived equilibrium adsorption constants for orthoclase with aqueous equilibrium constants for uranyl carbonate species indicates the presence of adsorbed uranium complexes with one or two carbonates in alkaline conditions, in support of current uranium(VI)more » surface complexation models.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
48205; KP1702030
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology, 48(7):3899-3907
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory